4. What exactly does “excellent PhD” mean, as stated as a prerequisite for applicants in “Information for Applicants” and on the “Call for Fellowships” page of the DenkRaum website?

This is a question that cannot be answered independently of the disciplinary culture and the overall profile of the individual candidates. An excellent doctoral degree is expressed differently in different disciplines. In some disciplines only a summa cum laude doctoral degree is regarded as excellent, while in others cum laude is a great distinction.